Last Will & Testament

Why do you need a will? A few tips before you draft your last will & testament Cost to draft a Last Will & Testament

Why do you need a will?

Every competent person of 16 years and older who owns assets and is mentally able to understand the results of his or her actions, should have a will. Why? If a person dies without a will, it could lead to severe administrative, tax and legal problems and possibly also lead to financial losses. A will should comply with certain legal requirements to be valid. In your will, you determine how your assets should be divided, and nominate an executor and trustee to take care of the division of the estate's assets and to handle the administration of any trust assets. You have the right to name heirs as you wish in your will. If you don't, your assets will be divided according to the Intestate Succession Act, No 81 of 1987, after your death – which could mean that persons who you would have preferred not to inherit from you, could inherit. Your will therefore determines the future of everything that you've built up through the years – and your heirs can be directly disadvantaged if you don't plan correctly. Estate duty, income tax, VAT and capital gains tax (CGT) can take a big chunk out of your estate if your planning is wrong. It thus goes without saying that you should get the advice of a specialist or adviser for the drafting of your will. To find peace of mind, do your estate planning calculations to determine if your wishes at your death will be feasible and executable. Will there be enough cash to pay all your liabilities and estate costs without forced sale/s of some of your assets? Contact a financial planner direct or contact a financial advisor in your town if you should need more information or advice, or you can continue and complete the application to draft a last will and testament.

A few tips before you draft your last will & testament 

If you wish to leave your assets to your spouse and children, it is not a good idea to divide them amongst them equally– except if your estate consists of cash only. To transfer a home into the names of both the spouse and children's names, may lead to practical problems and family disputes, especially if the children should marry. To transfer a motor vehicle into the names of four people for example is also not practical. It is not advisable to include funeral arrangements in your will. The reason for this is that your will is typically only read after the funeral. Rather inform your family about your funeral wishes beforehand. If you have minor children, you should consider, in the absence of a guardian after your death, appointing someone as their guardian in your will. If you are divorced and paying maintenance, you should keep this responsibility towards your former spouse and children in mind when drafting your will. It is very important to identify the person you wish to appoint as executor of your will. It is the task of the executor to administer your estate in accordance with the stipulations of your will and to look after the best interest of your heirs. Keep your will up to date by revising it regularly. Make sure your will is valid. The Wills Act stipulates exactly what a will should conform to. Ask an expert if you're unsure. Avoid commands such as that all assets have to be sold. Make provision for the protection of heirs such as minors and spendthrifts. A testamentary trust is an ideal solution in most instances. Heirs must be clearly identified by full names, surname, relationship and, if available, identity number. Please note that certain monies such as annuities, pensions and group insurance paid outside the estate by the Board of Trustees of the fund/scheme do not form part of an estate. The same goes for a ceded policy or a policy with a nominated beneficiary. Your will only disposes of assets that forms part of your estate. The word “wish” in a will must also be used correctly so that the testator's intentions are very clear to the executor. If, for example, the testator expressed the wish that his estate assets be sold, doubt could sometimes arise, depending on the exact wording, as to whether it is a directive or only a wish. If the word “direct” is used, and depending on the exact wording of the specific bequest, there should be no doubt that the executor has to carry out such directive and sell the assets.

Cost to draft a Last Will & Testament

The complexity of the Last Will & Testament, whom you use as executor and the provider you use will determine the cost for drafting a Last Will & Testament. Different cost structures are used by different providers. Costs for drafting a Last Will & Testament varies from drafting a Last Will & Testament for free, with or without a fee for safekeeping, to charging a standard fee for drafting with or without a fee for safekeeping. The 2 options for requesting to draft your last will & Testament on this website are: Contact a financial advisor to draft your Last Will & Testament: Ask the financial advisor or provider that you contact to disclose the provider they use to draft the Last Will & Testament and what the associated costs will be for drafting and if applicable, how much the charge will be for safekeeping and how much future amendments to the Last Will & Testament will be.        Apply direct to draft your Last Will & Testament For applications to draft a Last Will & Testament submitted direct from this website the financial services provider uses the services of the trust  company, Sanlam Trust.   If your total assets are more than R 1m and appoint Sanlam Trust as the executor for your estate, the drafting of the Last Will & Testament could be free with a safekeeping fee of R 50,00 per annum with future amendments also being done for free.       
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